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Importance Of Keeping Up To Date Virus Definitions

written by: TVChatten•edited by: Bill Bunter•updated: 5/4/2010

The purpose of the antivirus software is to detect and clean any virus from a Computer. The software uses a database of known viruses, called 'virus definitions'. We'll find out in this article why it is important to keep this database updated all the times.

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    Virus Definition And Its Use

    Virus definition, also known as a 'virus signature' is the main method of virus detection for anti-virus programs.The term 'virus definitions' usually refers to the database containing information on all known viruses.

    An anti-virus software uses virus definitionsto compare all the content present on a Computer disks, RAM and boot sectors against its virus definition database. This database consists of definitions, in unique binary code patterns, each representing a different virus. This helps antivirus software to easily and effectively detect viruses upon discovery of the code that might be present in the 'virus definition' database.

    Virus creators are very actively involved in introducing new and different viruses every day. They seem to be very keen in attempting to exploit vulnerabilities in Computers. Their target of attack is not only a particular Computer or a group of Computers, but many a times, PCs in whole business organization or all home user Computers in a particular region. The attackers often attempt to attack random PCs at different locations, often with or without keeping in mind which PCs might become victim of their attack.

    Only one virus or worm, originating from a serious attacker could be enough to wreak havoc and create problems or irreversible destructions to a Computer or whole network.

    An antivirus program can be able to detect all known viruses and provide maximum protection against them only when its virus definition database is up to date with a list of all known viruses.Therefore, it is essential that the virus definition database is comprehensive and regularly updated with new definitions.

    There are many antivirus software programs available, including freeware, which utilize a comprehensive database of continuously updating virus definitions. The most popular, reliable and trusted anti virus software include McAfee, Norton and Trend Micro. Among the free ones are Avira and Comodo. All of these also provide automatic updating of virus definition database, which starts getting updated as soon as new virus is discovered and its definition has been created by the software manufacturer. Automatic updating ensures that antivirus software remains up to date all the time and it saves the user from the job of updating it by manually downloading it from internet.